Embassy of the Republic of Fiji
Japan / Russia / Philippines

NEWSLETTER

FIJI INDEPENDENCE DAY

REBUILDING A UNITED Fiji:  one hope, ONE destiny, ONE NATION – we are one

On the occasion of the 42nd National Day celebration it gives me great pleasure and honor on behalf of the President of the Republic of Fiji, the government and people of Fiji, warm and sincere greetings to Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, and the members of the Imperial Household, as well as to the Government of Prime Minister Yoshihiko NODA and to the people of this great nation, Japan.  I also extend warm greetings and “bula vinaka” to all Fiji nationals and friends of Fiji in Japan.

A UNTED FIJI for All

Since our last National Day Celebration in 2011, there have been many positive developments taking place in Fiji, as the Bainimarama Government continues with the rebuilding of Fiji to be a modern nation among its peers in the international community, where every citizen irrespective of race, religious belief, social or economic status, will feel and is treated equally. In January 2012, the Government lifted the Public Emergency Decrees, to facilitate the first important step in the preparation for setting up the Constitution Commission, mandated to undertake inclusive, fair and full participatory public dialogue with all the people of Fiji, on what they would like to see in the new constitution. In March, we welcome the United Nations Election Monitoring Group to Fiji to conduct its assessment of what is needed to ensure that the planned general election in 2014 will be free and fair. The assessment of this UN Team is now being mainstreamed into the preparatory work of Fiji’s Elections Office program.

The Government also engaged, after international public tendering, a Canadian company to provide electronic voter registration machines and to also implement the initial phase of the first electronic voter registration system set for the 2014 election. This was followed with the launch of phase one of the electronic voter registration period, which commenced on 1 April and completed on 31 July 2012. At the end of the initial period of voter registration approximately 500,000 voters were registered. Fiji citizens living overseas will register through the various Fiji Diplomatic Missions and Consulate Offices from January 2013.

In March 2012, the Bainimarama Government announced the setting up of the Constitution Commission [CC] with the appointment of a renowned international scholar Professor Yash Ghai, as chairperson, and its independent members. The persons being appointed as chair and members of the CC have received positive comments from the international community. There is wide acceptance that they are individuals with personal integrity and will execute their duties and responsibilities independently. Following their appointment, the CC began its nationwide public consultations on the new constitution. This process will be completed on 10 October 2012. The CC will then prepare a draft Constitution based on their public consultations. It is expected that a draft Constitution will be available by mid-December 2012.

The final draft prepared by the CC will be submitted to His Excellency the President by January 2013. A Constituent Assembly, whose membership will be drawn from all facets of communities in Fiji, will be appointed by the President to deliberate on the Draft Constitution, and this process will take 6-8 weeks. The outcome of the work of the Constituent Assembly will be submitted to a Tribunal for verification that the core principles of the constitution, stipulated by government are captured appropriately in the Constitution. Once the Tribunal certifies the draft constitution as ready for adoption, it will be submitted to His Excellency for promulgation. Election shall be prepared and effected as stipulated in the Constitution.

Bilateral relationship

Fiji/Japan bilateral relation is presently facing new challenges. These are being addressed diligently by officials from both governments. It is expected that in the remaining months of 2012 and early into 2013, senior official exchanges will take place to assist further in the process of rebuilding our relation. In this regard, I will acknowledge the good work undertaken by the Japanese Ambassador in Fiji His Excellency Mr Eiichi OSHIMA in reaching out to the senior political and Heads of Governments Departments in Fiji.

Fiji had reached an agreement in October 2010 with Japan to develop a bilateral framework, in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding with set guidelines for deepening trade and investment in specific sectors of the Fiji economy.  We hope the relevant bilateral framework is a positive step for the rebuilding of our bilateral ties. This is indicative of Japan’s resolve to maintain bilateral relations with Fiji which attests strong evidence of its commitment to consider Fiji as a dialogue and equal sovereign state.

Fiji continues to enjoy trading ties with Japan with an annual bilateral trade of ¥8 billion.  We have recorded significant surpluses in our balance of trade with Japan for several months leading to October 2011.

Fiji’s Economic Reforms Bearing Dividends

The economic reforms undertaken by Fiji under the Roadmap for Democracy and Sustainable Socio-Economic Development have produced positive mid-term results.  Fiji’s economic standing was recently assessed at a higher level by the credit-rating agency Standard & Poor’s.  The various key reforms are now under way, including reform on land management being the basic resource for Fiji’s economic growth, when successfully completed will be the catalyst for promising economic growth in Fiji.

With opening for direct foreign investment, by the Bainimarama Government, into out extractive industries, Fiji’s economy in the next 2- 5 years is expected to strengthen significantly from 2.7% GDP growth for 2012 to 3.4% [projected] in 2013/2014] and to grow further to 5% by 2018/19.

Reasons for celebration

Our people have a lot to be thankful for during the last 42 years of our journey.  Our nation is a beautiful island of tranquility in the midst of worldwide upheavals.  We have a compassionate and resilient people of many races who have learned to live together over the years despite their differences. We are building towards a UNITED FIJI – where everyone will be cared for and social justice a fundamental of our national development.

Fiji continues to support international peacekeeping missions in trouble spots around the globe under the U.N. banner.  Our servicemen and servicewomen who have served in U.N. missions have been mentioned well for their bravery and commitment to the common good of humanity, and we pay tribute to those that have made the ultimate sacrifice.

As we celebrate today, we, as a nation, have every reason to be grateful to the Almighty God for His tender mercies that have enabled us to come thus far, a national poised for greater things.

May I extend our sincere appreciation to all our corporate sponsors, the Japan-Fiji Friendship Society, friends of Fiji in Japan and members of the Fiji community for their support and genuine commitment to the promotion of good will between Japan and Fiji.

Finally, my sincere gratitude to The Japan Times, whose generous support we have always received over the years and for allowing us this tremendous opportunity to celebrate Fiji’s 42nd anniversary of independence with its readers.

May God bless Fiji-Japan relations.

HE Mr Isikeli Mataitoga 
Ambassador

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

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Celebrating Fiji, One Nation One Destiny

It is with great pleasure and honour on this memorable occasion to extend on behalf of the President of the Republic of Fiji, the Government and people of Fiji, warm greetings to Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko and the members of the Imperial Household as well as to the Government and people of this great nation, Japan. I extend warm greetings and ‘bula vinaka’ to all Fiji nationals and Friends of Fiji in Japan.

I convey once again the condolences of the people and the Government of Fiji to the Government of Japan for the sad loss of lives during the 11th March 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake. Fiji is confident that Japan’s renowned solidarity and history of recovery during such calamities will enhance recovery efforts in areas affected by the Earthquake and the ensuing Tsunami. We pray for comfort and peace for those that have lost loved ones and a speedy recovery of economies in prefectures affected.

Fiji Offers Assistance to Students Affected by the Great Tohoku Earthquake & Tsunami.

Following the recent devastating earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku Region of Japan, the Prime Minister of Fiji, Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama offered Fiji’s assistance to the Government of Japan.  This was followed by the Prime Minister’s approval that government offer 20 places to university and high school students affected by this earthquake.  Under the assistance programme students will relocate to Fiji for up to one year and will be admitted to the Fiji National University [FNU] and selected Government managed secondary schools in Fiji.

This assistance program is an expression of our solidarity and support to the people of Japan generally and in particular those directly affected by the earthquake and tsunami in the North Eastern Region of Japan. Fiji’s stance in making this offer is consistent with the same selfless spirit and fraternal relationship, with which our forefathers sent soldiers to assist in the Malaysian Emergency, Peacekeeping in the Middle East and elsewhere, the Bougainville Crisis etc. It characterizes our desire to extend selfless love and sacrifice at great personal costs.

Japan’s Aid & Assistance

Japan remains as one of Fiji’s major donors in the economic and social sectors. Japan’s Overseas Development Assistance [ODA] programme extended through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) continues to provide valuable assistance through technical training, human resources and project development in various sectors in Fiji. Close to 50 JICA experts and volunteers are currently working in Fiji in various areas.

The Policy of Japan’s ODA to Fiji is basically in line with the General Assistance Plan for the Pacific Region. While there are three vital components of Japan’s ODA program, i.e. Grant Aid, Technical Cooperation and Loan Aid, current principal components that are practicable for Fiji are Technical Cooperation and Grant Aid for Basic Human Needs (BHN).

Trade & Economic Cooperation

Japan’s agreement in October 2010 for Fiji and Japan to develop a bilateral framework in the form of an MOU setting out some guidelines for deepening trade and investment in specific sectors of the Fiji economy will further deepen and enhance Japan/Fiji trade and investment relations. This is indicative as well of Japan’s resolve to maintain bilateral relations with Fiji and remains a strong evidence of its commitment to consider Fiji as a dialogue and equal sovereign state.

Fiji continues to enjoy trading ties with Japan with an annual Bilateral Trade of 8 billion yen. We have recorded significant surpluses in our balance of trade with Japan for several months leading to October, 2011.

Fiji’s Economic Reforms

The economic reforms undertaken by Fiji under the Roadmap for Democracy and Sustainable Socio-Economic Development have produced positive mid-term results. Fiji’s economic standing was recently assessed at a higher level by the credit-rating agency of Standard & Poor’s. The various key reforms now underway in Fiji including reforms on land management being the basic resource for Fiji’s economic growth when successfully completed will be the catalysts for promising economic growth in Fiji.

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been successfully integrated under Fiji’s Roadmap for Democracy and Sustainable Socio-Economic Development to ensure successful implementation and achievement of MDG targets. Described as the ‘greatest collective anti-poverty project in human history’ Fiji will continue to encourage and mobilise its citizens and communities to take ownership of MDGs.

Reasons for Celebration: One Nation One Destiny

Our people have a lot to be thankful for during the last 41 years of our journey.  Our nation is a beautiful island of tranquillity in the midst of world wide upheavals. We have a compassionate and resilient people of many races who have learned to live together over the years despite their differences.

Fiji continues to support international peace keeping missions in trouble spots around the globe under the UN banner. Our servicemen and servicewomen having served in UN missions have been mentioned well for their bravery and commitment to the common good of humanity and we pay tribute to those that have made the ultimate sacrifice.

As we celebrate today, we as a nation have every reason to be grateful to Almighty God for His tender mercies which has enabled us to come thus far, a nation poised for greater things.

May I extend our sincere appreciation to all our corporate sponsors, the Japan- Fiji Friendship Society, friends of Fiji in Japan and members of the Fiji community for their support and genuine commitment to the promotion of goodwill between Japan and Fiji.

Finally my sincere gratitude to the Japan Times whose generous support we have always received over the years and for allowing us this tremendous opportunity to celebrate Fiji’s 41st  Anniversary of Independence with its readers..

May God bless Fiji/Japan Relations.

HE Mr Isikeli Mataitoga 
Ambassador

(10 October, 2011)

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‘40th ANNIVERSARY OF FIJI’S INDEPENDENCE AND DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH JAPAN

It is with great pleasure and honour on this memorable occasion to extend on behalf of the President of the Republic of the Fiji Islands, the Government and people of Fiji, warm greetings to Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko and the members of the Imperial Household as well as to the Government and people of this great nation, Japan. I extend warm greetings and ‘bula vinaka’ to all Fiji nationals and Friends of Fiji in Japan and to applaud them for their continued support to the embassy and for the various roles that they play in promoting Fiji.

The Government and People of the Fiji Islands on 10 October 2010 celebrate the 40th anniversary of our independence. Fiji gained independence from the United Kingdom on 10 October 1970.

10 October 2010 also mark the 40th year of formal diplomatic relations between Fiji and Japan. As we reach this cross road, it is important for our future together that we take time to take stock of our relations and celebrate it success and learn from its challenges.

The Last 40 Years

The Government of Japan were among a few countries, which formally recognized Fiji from the first day of our independence. It was an act of trust, friendship and fraternal fellowship that was to blossom in the ensuing 40 years until today. In looking back over the last 40 years of Fiji/Japan relations, the people and the Government of the Republic of the Fiji Islands are grateful and deeply appreciate the development assistance and support it has received from the Government of Japan and its generous peoples. Japan has tried at all times to be understanding and have demonstrated much patience and respect towards Fiji, even when our political environment has been testing. Fiji is thankful to the government and the people of Japan for the unwavering support extended to Fiji during this period of political changes that Fiji is currently going through. It is during such times that Fiji needs the cooperation and support of nations ready to extend their assistance. We needed a friend and Japan did not disappoint us.

The Republic of the Fiji Islands and Japan have enjoyed friendly and cooperative relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1970. Such relations have been developed through people to people exchanges and Japan’s economic cooperation to Fiji under its bilateral assistance programs. Several of our nationals have during this period pursued their studies in various disciplines in some of Japan’s renowned universities under Japan funded scholarships and have excelled to key positions in various sectors back home.  A small community of Fiji nationals now reside and work here and have also made Japan their home.

Japanese Aid to Fiji

Japan remains as one of Fiji’s major donors in the economic and social sectors. Japan has provided funds for capital works, technical experts and volunteers and has also facilitated long and short term training in Japan for many Fiji nationals. Japan has assisted Fiji greatly through it Japanese Overseas Volunteer Scheme [JOVC], which it makes available to Fiji, experts in various fields to assist at no costs to the Fiji Government or to the communities of the Fiji Islands in sectors of life, that directly impact the lives and livelihood of the people of Fiji.

Japan’s Overseas Development Assistance [ODA] programme extended through the   Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) continues to provide valuable assistance through technical training, human resources and project development in various sectors in Fiji. Japan’s support and contribution has assisted greatly in building Fiji’s socio-economic infrastructure in the health, education, ICT, fisheries, meteorological, maritime transport sectors  to name a few. The examples of the many projects that Japan has benefited Fiji with are too numerous to refer to individually. It is still proper and important that I acknowledge all of them and to say on behalf of my government how much we deeply appreciate each and every one of those projects.

A tabulated summary of Japan ODA and Technical Assistance to Fiji during the last ten (10) years is summarised as follows:

Year Grant Aid (Amount in Yen 100 Million) Technical Cooperation (Amount in Yen 100 Million)
2004 1.65 8.69
2005 0.75 8.69
2006 0.75 8.17
2007 1.84 5.85
2008 6.78 5.72

A tabulated breakdown of the major projects established in Fiji under Japan’s Grant Aid Program since 1998 can be summarised as follows:

Grant Aid Project Date of Completion Assistance Amount
ICT Center (Phase 2) at the University of the South Pacific Ongoing F$18 Million
ICT Center (Phase 1) at the University of the South Pacific March 2010 F$45 Million
New Pharmaceutical Center 2004 F$17.65 Million
New Paediatric Unit at the Colonial War Memorial Hosp. 2000 F$21.8 Million
Construction of Marine Studies Facilities at the University of the South Pacific 1998 US$11.9 Million
Fiji Meteorological Center 1998 F$16.6 Million

Japan announced at the Pacific Leaders Meeting (PALM 5) held in Hokkaido in May 2009 the extension of ¥50 billion in aid to Pacific Island nations for the next three years, to assist in countering climate change and other challenges confronting Pacific Island countries. Japan has kindly set aside Yen 6.8 Billion from this funding initiative for solar energy and sea water desalination projects in Pacific Island countries. This special funding initiative when implemented will further contribute to the social and economic development for the outer communities of Fiji. The assistance extended will further strengthen Japan’s partnership with Fiji and her Pacific Island neighbours.

Japan’s Emergency Assistance during Natural Disasters

In times of our need following major cyclones and other natural disasters, Fiji has always found Japan and its people ready and willing to assist in the rebuilding and reconstruction work that needs to be undertaken.  In those times, Japan gave generously and assisted selflessly. As Fiji’s Ambassador may I express Fiji’s deep appreciation for all you have done and continue to do.

Japan through its Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) program has furthered its commitment towards ensuring maximum reliability and accuracy from Meteorological authorities in Fiji and the Pacific region through advanced infrastructure development and capacity building. The upgrading of the F$16.6 million Fiji Meteorological Center in 1998 under Japan’s ODA program is a strong testament of Japan’s commitment in this area. Japan this year through its JICA representatives agreed with the Meteorological Service Department of Fiji for regional training courses to be conducted once a year for the next three years for Pacific Island countries. The first training session is scheduled to be held this year in Fiji. Technical expertise and logistics arrangements for these training sessions will be provided by Japan.

Assistance through OISCA

The Organisation for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA) continues to operate the National Youth Training Centre in Sigatoka. Fiji is grateful for the continuous assistance provided by OISCA International through its capacity development and environmental programs over the years, empowering our young people with basic skills in agriculture, management of community development projects and environment conservation activities.

OISCA has been instrumental in Fiji’s mangrove replanting program that aims to restore natural coastal habitats and traditional fishing grounds that have been disturbed as a result of coast development. The integration of this program with schools located in piloted areas will provide the needed awareness for our people in preserving the environment around them. OISCA has also embarked on coral replanting programs in selected areas in Fiji.

Trade

Fiji continues to enjoy trading ties with Japan with an annual Bilateral Trade of 8 billion yen. Fiji continues to import from Japan vehicles, vehicle accessories, machinery and electronic items. Fiji’s major export components include wood chips, marine products and beverages. We also saw an increase in the marketing of Fiji grown pearls in Japan in the last few years. There is a slow but sure increase in Fiji products for the skin and beauty care industry in Japan.

The global economic slowdown has been a challenge to Fiji’s economy as it has to other economies around the globe. Despite these recent setbacks, Fiji continues to maintain bilateral and multilateral trade relations with Japan. For this we are thankful to our trading partners, agencies and companies in Japan for actively engaging with Fiji. We are also thankful for the significant roles played by the Pacific Island Centre (PIC) and JETRO, and for their resilience in facilitating the promotion of Fiji products to the Japanese market. Through the assistance of PIC, major Fiji companies have been able to effectively market their products in Japan through sponsored trade shows.

Fiji appreciates the confidence demonstrated by Japanese investors who despite our difficult times have maintained faith in Fiji’s investment potential. The establishment of twenty-three (23) Japanese managed companies during the last nine (9) years to 2009 in Fiji is testament of the confidence that our Japanese trading partners have for the Fiji investment climate. A breakdown of investment by sectors is tabulated as follows:

Year Sector No. of Implemented projects
2009 Construction
Manufacturing
1
1
2008 Mining & Quarrying 
Manufacturing
Fishing
1
1
1
2007 Construction
Services
Manufacturing
2
2
1
2006 Whole sale & Retail
Services
Education
1
2
1
2005 Services
Agriculture & Forestry
2
1
2004 Services 1
2003 Services 1
2002 Services 1
2001 Fishing
Services
1
1
2000 Tourism 1

Tourism

Fiji’s tourism industry remains as one of Fiji’s top foreign exchange earner and has also become one of Fiji’s largest sources of economic growth in comparison with other industries such as sugar, garments and other sectors. Fiji has long been a popular tourism destination that attracts visitors from around the world. The recent establishment of upmarket resorts affiliated to renowned international hotel chains will enhance the industry’s capacity to accommodate existing demands and provide employment for our people.

A great part of the Fiji/Japan relations is underpinned by a flourishing people-to-people contact. The Embassy of the Republic of Fiji in Japan, would not be able to make the impact we are able to make without the generous and selfless support of many non government actors and support we receive from many Japanese friends of Fiji, who gave voluntarily in support our work in the Embassy. It would be unfair if I refer to only some, suffice for me to thank all of them for their excellent support.

Approximately 23,000 Japanese visitors travel to Fiji annually. This number is now gradually increasing as a result of concentrated marketing by the Tourism Fiji Japan Office and collaborated efforts of our partners dealing with the Fiji tourism market. The introduction of new air routes connecting several Japanese cities with Fiji through Air Calin and Continental Airlines have contributed to the gradual increase in visitor arrivals. We are thankful to our tourism stakeholders in Japan who have maintained a high opinion of tourism prospects in Fiji despite the usual negative travel advices from some countries.

Fiji remains as an ideal destination for Japanese visitors to the region because it readily offers the following: (1) wide range of tourist products available to tourists; (2) cost effectiveness for products offered; (3) transport interconnectivity for busy travellers; (4) the ‘BULA’ greeting and smile that is associated with the friendliness of our people; and (5) the well developed infrastructure that supports the tourism industry.

Fiji will look to deepen its trade infrastructure with Japan in the near future. We hope that we will be able to start the process leading to the negotiation of a closer economic partnership arrangement with Japan. We believe that the time is right for us take this next step in our relations. We are confident that we will find in Japan a willing partner.

Reasons for Celebration

For the last 40 years, the Fiji/Japan friendship has been tested in the face of adversity and it has endured. We have also learnt a lot about each other, which augurs well in ensuring success as seek to build our new bridge of relations that will open doors to a better and prosperous future. We can both be confident that whatever challenges will come our way in the future, we can face it and gain victory, if we do so with respect for each other’s sovereignty, understanding, hard work and in the spirit of fraternity.

Fiji will be guided by these principles as it seeks to engage with Japan and its people in all areas and in particular as it seeks to deepen its bilateral trade and economic engagement.

Our people have a lot to be thankful for during the last 40 years of our journey.  Our nation is a beautiful island of tranquillity in the midst of world wide upheavals. Fiji is blessed with peace and prosperity. We have a compassionate and resilient people of many races who have learned to live together over the years despite their differences.

Fiji continues to support international peace keeping missions in trouble spots around the globe and in countries emerging out of conflict situations under the United Nations banner. Our men and women having served in United Nations missions have been mentioned well for their bravery and commitment to the common good of humanity.

As we celebrate today, we as a nation have every reason to be grateful to Almighty God for His tender mercies which has enabled us to come thus far, a nation poised for greater things.

May I take this wonderful opportunity to extend our sincere appreciation to all our corporate sponsors, the Japan- Fiji Friendship Society, the Japan-Fiji Parliamentary League, Friends of Fiji in Japan and members of the Fiji community for their support and genuine commitment to the promotion of goodwill between Japan and Fiji.

Finally my sincere gratitude to the Japan Times whose generous support we have always received over the years and for allowing us this tremendous opportunity to celebrate Fiji’s 40th Anniversary of Independence with its readers..

Thank you very much. May God bless Fiji/Japan Relations in the years ahead.

HE Mr Isikeli Mataitoga 
Ambassador

(10 October 2010)

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Fiji Day-2010
Ambassador HE Isikeli Mataitoga’s address at the 2010 Fiji Day Reception – 8 October, 2010

[Madam Makiko Kikuta,] Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Mr. Makoto Watanabe, President/Chief Executive Officer, Tokyu Bunkamura Inc and President of the Nihon/Fiji Society;
Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen.

Let me begin by extending to you all a warm good evening. We gather here tonight to celebrate Fiji’s Independence Day. Fiji gained independence from the United Kingdom on 10 October 1970. This year 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of our independence. It also marks 40 years of formal diplomatic relations with the Government of Japan. Tonight I just want to thank the Government and people of Japan for their generous assistance over the last 40 years. I want to do that by referring only very few milestone.

The people and the government of Japan were among a few countries, who formally recognized Fiji from the first day of our independence. It was an act of trust, friendship and fraternal fellowship that was to blossom in the ensuing 40 years until today. In looking back over the last 40 years of Fiji/Japan relations, the people and the Government of the Republic of the Fiji Islands are grateful and deeply appreciate the development assistance and support it has received from the Government of Japan and its generous peoples. You have tried at all times to be understanding and you have demonstrated much patience and respects towards us, even when our political environment has been testing.
It is my honor and duty tonight to say: thank you very much Japan.

In times of our need following major cyclones and other natural disasters, my government has always found Japan and its people ready and willing to assist in the rebuilding and reconstruction work that needs to be undertaken.  In those times, Japan gave generously and you assisted selflessly. I want to express Fiji’s deep appreciation for all you have done.

In times of normalcy Japan has assisted Fiji greatly through its Japanese Overseas Volunteer Scheme [JOVC], which makes available to my country experts in various fields to assist at no costs to my government or to the communities of the Fiji Islands in sectors of life, that directly impact the lives and livelihood of the people of Fiji.  Again, I say thank you very much Japan.

Through your Overseas Development Assistance [ODA] programme Japanese support and contribution has assisted greatly in building Fiji’s socio-economic infrastructure in the health, education, ICT, fisheries, maritime transport sectors to name a few. The examples of the many projects that Japan has benefited Fiji with are too numerous to refer to individually in a speech of this kind, but it still proper and important that I acknowledge all of them and to say on behalf of my government how much we deeply appreciate each and every one of those projects.
I must pay tribute to may accomplished diplomats who have served you country with distinction while serving their tour of duty in Fiji. My government has benefited from their service and friendship. In many ways the healthy and cordial relations that has characterized Fiji/Japan relations in the last 40 years bears testament to the hard working and tireless dedication of that corp of Japanese Diplomats who have served in Fiji and to those who currently serving there. To each one of them I salute and acknowledge them individually tonight and their families as well.

A great part of Fiji/Japan relations is underpinned by a flourishing people-to-people contact. We in the Embassy here in Tokyo, would not be able to make the impact we are able to make without the generous and selfless support of many non government actors and support we receive from many Japanese friends of Fiji, who gave voluntarily in support our work in the Embassy. It would be unfair if I refer to only some today, suffice for me to thank all of them for their excellent support for Fiji.

I have been referring to our past 40 years. I must now look to the future and very briefly make the following observations. The Fiji/Japan friendship has been tested through time and experience. It has passed the test and is firm and sure. We can both be confident that whatever challenges will come our way in the future, we can face it and gain victory, if we do so with respect for each other’s sovereignty, understanding, hard work and in the spirit of fraternity.

Fiji will be guided by these principles as it seeks to engage with Japan and its people in all areas and in particular as it seeks to deepen its bilateral trade and economic engagement.
In conclusion I wish to specially and specifically acknowledge the support provided by the following individuals and organizations.

  • Mr Makoto Watanabe, President and CEO of Tokyu Bunkamura Inc;
  • The official and members of the Japan/Fiji Friendship Society;
  • The Japan Automotive Recyclers Association;
  • EKISSUMEITO Association of Osaka, led by Fiji Honorary Consul Hirokazu Ishibashi sama.

I wish to extend my sincere gratitude for your understanding and selfless support to Fiji and the Fiji Embassy. Vinaka vakalevu.
I hope you will enjoy the evening and thank you for coming tonight and celebrating with us. 
May God Almighty bless us all and the future of Fiji/Japan relation.

FET
8 October 2010

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First Quarterly Report 01/2010 (pdf)

 

February 6, 2010

FIJI’S FIRST AMBASSADOR TO THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION PRESENTS CREDENTIAL TO PRESIDENT DMITRY MEDVEDEV

Ambassador Isikeli Mataitoga has presented his Letters of Credence as Fiji’s first Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Russian Federation. In a small but eloquent ceremony at the Kremlin, Moscow on Friday, 5 February 2010, His Excellency President Dmitry Medvedev accepted Ambassador Mataitoga’s credentials, in what is clearly a significant development in Fiji’s diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation and the international community of nations.

Fiji established diplomatic relations with the then USSR on 30 January 1974 but have never formally requested the agre’ment of the Russian state for an appointment of an Ambassador. Following the breakup of, what was the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian Federation accepted all responsibilities of previous diplomatic relations of the Soviet Union and thus Fiji/Russia bilateral relations continued uninterrupted.

The appointment of Ambassador Mataitoga is a bold and major step of the Bainimarama Government to deepen its bilateral relations with a major world power in all areas of diplomatic relations. It is a logical next step in the government’s “Look North Policy’.

Ambassador Mataitoga held meetings with Mr Alexey Borodavkin the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and senior officials in the Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Agriculture, the Federal Fisheries Agency and the Russian Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry. An important outcome of the visit is the undertaking from the Russian Federation Government to send a team of senior officials to undertake an assessment mission for areas of trade and investment and to explore ways to further deepen bilateral relations between Fiji and the Russian Federation.

President Dmitry Medevdev in a speech following the credential presentation in the Kremlin said, ‘ We are ready to build up our cooperation with the Republic of the Fiji Islands in the United Nations and other international organisations. There are good opportunities for developing cooperation in areas such as fishing and tourism.’

October 10, 2009

“Moving Fiji Towards Change, Peace & Prosperity through Education”

The Republic of the Fiji Islands is celebrating today the 39th anniversary of its independence with confidence for a brighter future. Thirty nine years ago on 10th October, 1970 the government and the people of Fiji were given instruments to enter the arena of free nations and pursue its destiny as a sovereign nation.

It gives me great pleasure and honour on this memorable occasion to extend on behalf of the government and people of Fiji, warm greetings to Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko and the members of the Imperial household as well as to the Government and people of this great nation, Japan. I would also like to extend warm greetings and ‘bula vinaka’ to all Fiji nationals in Japan and to applaud them for their continued support to the embassy and for the various roles that they play in promoting Fiji.

Fiji’s Diversity

This year’s Fiji Day independence celebration is based on the theme “Moving Fiji Towards Change, Peace & Prosperity through Education”. The theme encompasses the spirit of ‘Fiji’s Strategic Framework for Change’, a socio-political roadmap designed to ensure a sustainable democratic system for our country to truly accommodate the various distinctly unique races and cultures of our cosmopolitan country and is guided by the visions and pillars of the Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress.

This theme reflects our genuine intention to create a blueprint for our future generations that despite the disparities and differences in opinions and cultures of the people of Fiji, true peace and prosperity can be attained through unison on a collective front. The theme therefore, recognises that we are at the crossroads of our journey in nationhood, appreciating our diversity and moving together in harmony.

Political Relations

Fiji is thankful to the government and the people of Japan for the unwavering support extended to Fiji amidst the political changes that Fiji is currently facing. It is during such times that Fiji needs the cooperation and support of nations ready to extend their assistance. Japan and the Republic of the Fiji Islands have been enjoying friendly and cooperative relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1970. Such relations have been developed through people exchange and Japan’s economic cooperation to Fiji under its bilateral assistance programs.

We are also thankful to the Japan-Fiji Parliamentary League which has been and remains a vital avenue for dialogue and networking between the two countries. Fiji looks forward to stronger ties and consolidation of bilateral relations between our countries in the future.

Trade/Tourism

Fiji continues to enjoy trading ties with Japan with strong performances in trade balance recorded for certain months this year. Fiji continues to import from Japan vehicles, vehicle accessories, machinery and electronic items. Fiji’s major export components include wood chips, marine products and beverages. The export of precious stones in particular Fiji grown pearls has also contributed to Fiji’s trade balance as niche markets in Japan for Fiji Pearls are now steadily growing.

The global economic slowdown has been a challenge to Fiji’s economy as it has to other economies around the globe. Despite these recent setbacks, Fiji continues to maintain bilateral and multilateral trade relations with Japan. For this we are thankful to our trading partners, agencies and companies in Japan for actively engaging with Fiji. We are also thankful for the significant roles played by the Pacific Island Centre (PIC) and JETRO, and for their resilience in facilitating the promotion of Fiji products on the Japanese market. Through the assistance of PIC, major Fiji companies have been able to effectively market their products in Japan through sponsored trade shows.

Fiji’s tourism industry remains as one of Fiji’s top foreign exchange earner and has also become one of Fiji’s largest sources of economic growth in comparison with other industries such as sugar, garments and other sectors. Fiji has long been a popular vacation spot that attracts visitors from around the world and is a favourite honeymoon destination as well. The recent establishment of upmarket resorts affiliated to renowned international hotel chains will enhance the industry’s capacity to accommodate existing demands and provide employment for our people.

Approximately 23,000 Japanese visitors travel to Fiji annually. This number is now gradually increasing as a result of concentrated marketing by the Tourism Fiji Japan Office. The introduction of new air routes connecting several Japanese cities with Fiji through Air Calin and Continental Airlines will add to visitor arrivals. Fiji is renowned for its friendliness and hospitality being the main reasons that bring visitors back to Fiji.

Japanese Aid to Fiji

Japan remains as one of Fiji’s major donors in the economic and social sectors. Japan has provided funds for capital works, technical experts and volunteers and has also facilitated long and short term training for several Fiji nationals in Japan. Japan announced at the Pacific Leaders Meeting (PALM 5) held in Hokkaido in May this year the extension of ¥50 billion in aid to Pacific Island nations for the next three years to assist in countering climate change and other challenges confronting Pacific Island countries. The assistance extended will strengthen Japan’s partnership with Pacific island countries.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) continues to provide valuable assistance through technical training and human resources development for Fiji nationals through its Overseas Volunteer Cooperation programs. The Organisation for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA) continues to operate the National Youth Training Centre in Sigatoka. Fiji is grateful for the continuous assistance provided by OISCA International through its capacity development and environmental programs over the years, empowering our young people with basic skills in agriculture, management of community development projects and environment conservation activities.

A number of Fiji nationals are pursuing degrees in various disciplines at some of Japan’s renowned universities under Japan funded scholarships. A small community of Fiji nationals now reside and work here and have also made Japan their home. Some of our top rugby players are now playing for teams in the Japan Rugby Top League competition.

Reasons for Celebration

In conclusion, we as a nation have a lot to be thankful for. Our nation is a beautiful island of tranquillity in the midst of world wide upheavals. Fiji is blessed with peace and prosperity. We have a compassionate and resilient people of many races who have learned to live together over the years despite their differences. This is evident in our collective effort to help each other overcome upheavals caused by nature and man.

We have continued to support international peace keeping missions in trouble spots around the globe and in countries emerging out of conflict situations under the United Nations banner. Our men and women having served in United Nations missions have been mentioned well for their bravery.

As we celebrate today, we as a nation have every reason to be grateful to Almighty God for His mercies which has enabled us as a nation to be where we are today, a nation poised for greater things.

May I take this wonderful opportunity to extend our appreciation to all our corporate sponsors, the Japan- Fiji Friendship Society, the Japan-Fiji Parliamentary League, Nihon Fiji Kai and members of the Fiji community and friends for their support and genuine commitment to the promotion of goodwill between Japan and Fiji.

Finally my sincere gratitude to the Japan Times whose generous support we have always received over the years and for allowing us this tremendous opportunity to celebrate Fiji’s 39th Anniversary of independence with its readers. It is our hope that Japan will continue to assist Fiji make the theme of the Fiji Day 2009 celebration “Moving Fiji Towards Change, Peace & Prosperity through Education” a reality.

Thank you very much.

Ulaiasi Ravula (Mr)

Chargé d’affaires, a.i.

October 10, 2008

“Diverse Harmony for a New Fiji”
The Republic of the Fiji Islands is celebrating today the 38th anniversary of its independence with renewed hope for a brighter future. Thirty-eight years ago on Oct. 10, 1970, the government and people of Fiji were given instruments to enter the arena of free nations and pursue their destiny as a sovereign nation.

It gives me great pleasure therefore on this memorable occasion to extend on behalf of the president of the Republic of the Fiji Islands, H.E. Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda, the people and government of Fiji, warm greetings to Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, the members of the Imperial household, the government and people of Japan. I would also like to extend warm greetings and “ebula vinaka” to the small but growing Fiji community in Japan who have made the choice to pursue their studies and careers in this great and wonderful nation.

This year’s Fiji Day independence celebration is based on the theme “Diverse Harmony for a New Fiji”. The theme appropriately encompasses the various and distinctly unique races and cultures present in our country. Despite these differences, Fiji continues to pursue unity and harmony based on the collective efforts of its leaders and people. This platform of fused harmonious efforts forms the foundation for a better future and a new hope for a more prosperous Fiji.

Fiji is truly thankful to the government and people of Japan for the unwavering support extended to Fiji amid the political changes it has encountered in the past and what it is facing now. It is during such times that Fiji needs the cooperation and support of nations willing and ready to extend their assistance.

We are also thankful to the Japan-Fiji Parliamentary League, which has been and remains a vital avenue for dialogue and networking between the two countries. Fiji looks forward to stronger ties and the consolidation of bilateral relations between our countries in the future.

Fiji continues to enjoy trading ties with Japan, with strong performances in the trade balance recorded for certain months this year. Fiji imports from Japan vehicles, vehicle accessories, machinery and electronic items. Fiji’s major export components include wood chips, marine products, sugar and beverages. The export of precious stones and in particular Fiji cultured pearls has also contributed to Fiji’s trade balance as niche markets in Japan for Fiji pearls are steadily growing.

The adverse effects of rising food and oil prices, and the global economic decline has been a challenge to Fiji’s economy as it has to other economies around the globe. Despite these recent setbacks in the international market, Fiji continues to maintain bilateral and multilateral trade relations with Japan. For this we are thankful to our trading partners in Japan for maintaining trade relations with Fiji. We also appreciate the significant roles played by the Pacific Island Center (PIC) and JETRO, and for their resilience in the promotion of Fiji products on the Japanese market. Through the assistance of the PIC, major Fiji companies have been able to effectively market their products in Japan. 
Fiji’s tourism industry remains one of the country’s top foreign exchange earners. The industry has also become one of Fiji’s greatest sources of economic growth in comparison with other industries such as sugar, garments and other sectors. Fiji islanders are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality. Over the years the friendliness and openness of Fiji’s people continue to draw visitors to Fiji.

Approximately 23,000 Japanese visit Fiji annually. This number is gradually increasing as a result of concentrated marketing by the Fiji Visitors Bureau Japan Office and the three weekly flights to Nadi from Narita by Fiji’s airline, Air Pacific.

Japan remains one of Fiji’s major donors in the economic and social sectors. Japan has provided funds for capital works, technical experts and volunteers, and has also facilitated long-and short-term training for many Fiji nationals in Japan.

A five-member Japan parliamentary delegation visited Fiji in August to survey the following ODA projects under Japan’s free financial aid:
* Construction of a pediatric ward at the Colonial War Memorial (CWM) Hospital, Suva 
* Maintenance of the new Medical Supply Center
* Pacific Immunization Strengthening Program
* Communication Technology Center at the University of the South Pacific (USP), Suva
* Construction of the Ocean Research facility

Fiji is grateful for Japan’s continuous assistance provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) through technical training and human resources development for Fiji nationals. The Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA) continues to operate the National Youth Training Center in Sigatoka. Established in 1990, the training center has contributed immensely to the training of young people within the framework of the Fiji government’s human development initiatives. OISCA has been effective as well in providing environment sustainable awareness programs particularly in mangrove replanting programs along coastal areas deemed to have been affected by development.

A number of Fiji nationals are pursuing degrees in various disciplines at some of Japan’s famous universities under Japan-funded scholarships. A small community of Fiji nationals reside and work here, and have made Japan their home. Some of our top rugby players are now playing for teams in Japan’s top rugby competition.

Our nation is a beautiful island of tranquility in the midst of worldwide upheavals. Fiji is blessed with a compassionate and resilient people of many races who have learned to live together despite their differences. This is evident in our collective effort to help each other overcome upheavals caused by nature and man.

We have continued to support international peacekeeping missions in trouble spots around the globe and in countries emerging out of conflict situations under the United Nations banner.

As we celebrate today, we as a nation have so much to be grateful to Almighty God for. Only God’s mercy has enabled us as a nation to progress and prosper, and we look forward to a greater and better future.

May I take this opportunity to extend our appreciation for the support from all our friends, corporate sponsors, the Japan-Fiji Friendship Society, the Japan-Fiji Parliamentary League, Nihon Fiji Kai and members of the Fiji community.

Finally, I extend my sincere gratitude to The Japan Times for its generous support over the years and for this opportunity to celebrate Fiji’s 38th anniversary of independence with its readers. It is my hope that Japan will continue to assist Fiji and help make the theme of the Fiji Day 2008 celebration “Diverse Harmony for a New Fiji” a reality.

Ratu Inoke Kubuabola

Ambassador

July to August 2008 Highlights

July

The three day G-8 Summit held in Hokkaido in July was the largest ever in terms of the number of states which participated apart from the G-8 member nations which included Japan, USA, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Russia. Seven African countries and seven emerging economies including China and India were invited to the outreach sessions of the summit. Observers have labelled the summit as the most important G-8 meeting of the decade.

Trade

Proposed investment in Fiji – Blest Co. Ltd, of Yokohama has expressed their intentions to set up in Fiji a special device which produces oil from plastic waste. The device will be able to produce oil from plastic waste such as plastic plates, pet bottle caps and labels. The produced oil will then be used to operate electric generators as well as operate the device itself. It is estimated that 500gms of plastic waste can generate about 400cc of recycled oil.

Fiji Noni – Pure Bright Company of Japan has now established an office in Nasoso, Nadi. The company will also establish a Noni Juice processing plant in the area for bulk exporting to Japan. The company has intentions to venture into Noni cultivation as well. The company intends to employ over 2000 people.

Promotion

Minato City Fair 2008 – Members of the Minato International Association, Tokyo visited the Fiji Embassy this month for ongoing discussions regarding the “ 2nd  Minato City Fair of Manufacturing, Commerce and Tourism”, scheduled for the 7th and 8th of November, 2008. Minato International Association takes an active role in these events as part of their ongoing efforts to increase international exchange and promote better understanding among residents and visitors from all over the world. This year, only twelve countries have been chosen to participate in the event, and Fiji is one of them.

Friendship Town/Sister City Concept

Takanezawa, Japan/Sigatoka Town – Takanezawa Town Council this month confirmed their offer to donate a fire fighting machine to the National Fire Authority (Fiji) under the Friendship town/Sister City concept developed with Sigatoka Town in February this year. The donation will be a welcome addition to existing fire fighting resources at the new Sigatoka Fire Station.

Overseas Development Assistance (ODA)

Waste Minimization and Recycling Promotion Project – This month the Ministry of Environment, Fiji signed an agreement with JICA under the JICA – Fiji Technical Cooperation in an effort to tackle the waste problem now facing Fiji. JICA will be providing technical experts as well as funds to improve rubbish disposal methods. The project will commence in October and will focus on Nadi and Lautoka dump sites. JICA maintains that the success of the project will be a model for other Pacific Island countries and will be piloted in Suva by 2011.

Customer Service/Public Relations

Fiji nationals in Japan – A get together BBQ and fun day was organised this month by the Fiji/Nihon Kai for Fiji community and Japanese friends in Tokyo and nearby areas. The “BBQ in the Park” on Saturday, July 19th is part of the efforts of the Fiji/Nihon Kai and Fiji Embassy Tokyo to rally the Fiji community together.

August

Trade

Surplus in Trade Balance – Fiji recorded a surplus in trade balance for July due to strong performances from Fiji’s export components such as fish, beverages and manufactured goods. A steady increase in Japanese visitors to Fiji was also recorded for the July – August period as Air Pacific continues its three weekly flights out of Narita.

New markets for Fiji product  A Korean company has started drilling in Sabeto, Nadi with intentions to bottle water. The project is a joint venture between the Korean company and local landowners. Senior company officials visited Nadi this month. The company is also the agent for Pure Fiji products in Korea.

Fiji Noni Products  Officials of EF Enterprise Inc. Japan, signed a license and distribution contract for Fiji Noni juice in Japan with FREZCO Beverages Ltd, Fiji during a scoping visit to Fiji this month. EF Enterprise Inc. which operates a restaurant and bar in Shibuya, one of Tokyo’s busiest locations will market Fiji Noni juice directly from their premises. The company has also sealed an agreement with Punjas Ocean Soap Ltd, to market products of Ocean Soaps Ltd in Japan.

Proposed investment in Fiji – Senior officials of BE Ent. Inc. Korea briefed the Prime Minister Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama this month at Incheon Airport on the status of their investment in the Tavua Island Resort Project. The Tavua Island Resort in the Mamanuca group of islands is expected to comprise of 120 villas and will cost about US$55 million. The signing ceremony for the project is expected soon.

E-cars to be manufactured in Fiji – Korean Company, CT&T Co. Ltd which makes electric cars is now in the final process of selecting a local joint venture partner in Fiji. The Fiji factory will produce e-cars for Pacific Island countries.

Promotion

FVB Marketing Forum – Ambassador H.E Ratu Inoke Kubuabola officiated at the FVB Marketing Forum held in Tokyo this month. About 200 Japanese travel agents and media representatives attended the Marketing Forum. Also present were 15 representatives from different hotels around Fiji, FVB headquarters staff, Air Pacific flight attendants and staff. The aim of the forum is to get more Japanese travellers to visit Fiji and also convince the travel agents that Fiji is still a worthy and safe tourist destination. FVB Tokyo maintained close consultation with Fiji Embassy Tokyo during the preparatory stages for the event.

The last quarter of this year is shaping to be a busy one for FET with various promotional events now on our calendar. FET as mentioned in previous reports will take a collective approach with the Japan Fiji Visitors Bureau and where relevant, Air Pacific (Japan) in promoting Fiji. FET maintains that this will be an effective way of gradually penetrating the Japan market.

Friendship Town/ Sister-City Concept

Taketoyo/Nadi Town  A 23 member delegation visited Nadi this month to further establish friendship ties and exchange networks with Nadi Town under the concept. The delegation called on the Nadi Mayor before visiting council facilities and some commercial locations in Nadi. Taketoyo Mayor Mr. Yoshiteru Momiyama was at the Embassy this month to advise on the 2nd Shoyu Summit scheduled for November 2008. An invitation has been extended to the Ambassador to be one of the guests and for FET to participate at the summit as well. Close to 600 people are expected to attend the summit.

Overseas Development Assistance

A five (5) member Japan Parliamentary Delegation visited Fiji this month to survey ODA projects. ODA projects visited include: Construction of the Paediatric Ward at the CWM Hospital, Suva; Maintenance of the new Medical Supply Center; Pacific Immunization Strengthening Program; Communication Technology Center at USP; and the Construction of the Ocean Research facility.

Customer Service/Public Relations

Embassy visit : Students and teachers from an NGO called ‘By the Children, For the Future, Children’s Activities’ visited the Embassy this month keen to know more about Fiji and how to cultivate cultural exchanges. Presentations by Embassy staff included a display of Fiji products. The President of the organization following the presentation chose Fiji as one of their soap providers for their next activity, SOAP BAZAAR.

Fiji nationals in Japan : This month the Fiji Embassy Tokyo continued to touch base with members of the Fiji community and friends of Fiji in Japan especially those in Tokyo. FET is fortunate to have the assistance of several members of our community and friends of Fiji who have voluntarily offered their time and resources to assist the Embassy in the various promotional events scheduled for the coming months.

May to June 2008 Highlights

May

Several ministerial gatherings of G-8 member nations and symposiums focusing on climate change and related issues were conducted this month as build-up sessions to the G-8 Summit to be held in Hokkaido in July.

Trade

Surplus in Trade Balance- Fiji recorded a significant surplus in trade balance (export vs imports) in April due to strong performance from Fiji’s three main components of export: Fish, Beverages and Wood chips. The inclusion of Precious stones and Metals (Pearls) contributed to the surplus recorded. Total Fiji exports to Japan in April recorded a 21% increase from that of March 2008.

Fiji Pearl Auction- The second Fiji Pearl Auction organised by Aquatec International and J.P. Hunters Fiji Ltd was held in Yokohama on 20th May 2008. A similar auction held last year yielded more than F$1million. Buyers from all over the world attended the auction described as very good by Aquatec International and J.P Hunters officials. A total of 33,555 Fiji pearls items were on auction with a value of 77 million yen.

Proposed Investment in Fiji- Korean company CT&T Co. Ltd, which operates a car assembly plant in Dangjin, South Seoul, Korea intends to set up a similar plant in Fiji for the local and overseas market. The Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama visited the company whilst on transit through Seoul to Fiji on 1st May 2008.

Promotion

Pacific Islands Exhibition 2009 Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) officials visited the embassy this month to discuss preparations for the Pacific Islands Exhibition to be held in Tokyo in May 2009. The exhibition will showcase products and culture from the Pacific region and is held every 3 years to coincide with the Pacific Leaders Meetings.

Other Fiji Promotions– FET continues to receive invitations from various parties and bodies in Japan to promote Fiji in their various sponsored programs. FET will take a collective approach with the Japan Fiji Visitors Bureau and where relevant, Japan Air Pacific in promoting Fiji. FET maintains that this will be an effective way of gradually penetrating the Japan market.

Overseas Development Assistance

USP Information and Communication Technology The bilateral agreement between the Government of Japan and Fiji for the USP ICT Project was signed this month in Suva. The $29 million project is expected to commence in October 2008 with an expected date of completion by December 2009. The project when completed will enhance human resources development, institutional strengthening and ICT research.

Customer Service/Public Relations

School visits to FET- A total of 6 Japanese Junior High Schools from prefectures outside Tokyo visited the Embassy this month as part of their excursions to Tokyo. With very little knowledge and understanding about Fiji, the students were welcomed and briefed on aspects about our country. Questions were based mainly on Fiji’s education system, trade ties with Japan, Culture, tourism and sports. FET remains optimistic that the students will be a bridge to building better ties not only in terms of trade, but promotional and also ambassadors for many age groups out there.

Walk the World for Africa– The Fiji Embassy in Tokyo (FET) participated at the ‘Walk the World for Africa’ held in Yokohama on Sunday 25th May 2008. Organised by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Japan Relations Office, about 2,700 people participated in the program including various Japan celebrities, Diplomats and members of the public. The program was held ahead of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) held in Yokohama this month as well.

June

Ministerial gatherings and symposiums were again conducted during the month being the final preparatory month for the G-8 Leaders Summit in July, 2008.The Hokkaido G-8 Summit is shaping to be one of the most critical in the history of the Summit with prevailing international issues such as global warming, rising food and oil prices and issues affecting the global economy.

Trade

Surplus in Trade Balance- Fiji again recorded a significant surplus in trade balance (export vs imports) in May due to continuous strong performances from Fiji’s three main components of export: Fish, Beverages and Wood Chips, exports.

Fiji Water- Fiji Water now retailed in large department stores and coffee houses like Starbucks in Seoul, Korea and through bulk purchasing in Japan, continues to gain momentum through the niche markets in these two countries. The marketing of the product is becoming a tremendous and an effective opportunity to market the Fiji brand that is associated with Fiji’s tourism industry.

Promotion

64th National Convention of UNESCO Movement in Tokyo Fiji Embassy Tokyo participated through invitation at the two days UNESCO Movement Convention held in Tokyo this month. People from different countries as well as people engaged in nongovernmental UNESCO movements all over Japan, gathered for the two days, June 7th and 8th to deepen exchanges. With more than 200 people attending the event, Fiji Embassy Tokyo, Fiji Nihon Kai members and families and other members of the Fiji community in Tokyo gathered to support the Fiji booth and efforts to promote Fiji.

Friendship Town/Sister City Concept

Taketoyo Cho/ Nadi TownTaketoyo Town officials this month advised FET of their intention to further strengthen their friendship relations with Nadi Town, initially established in 2007. Organised under the International Exchange Network, a delegation of 20 – 25 officials from the Taketoyo Town Chamber of Commerce and Industry, school teachers and representatives of other Taketoyo stakeholders will travel to Fiji in August, 2008 to promote international exchange activities in Nadi. A similar visit was conducted in September 2007.

TakanezawaTown/Sigatoka Town Earlier this year, a group of officials and councillors from Takanezawa Town, Japan visited Sigatoka Town under the same concept. The friendship association was initially scoped following FET’s participation at a Takanezawa sponsored festival in November 2007.

Efforts are currently underway to pursue the extension/establishment of the concept that will connect other selected cities/towns in Japan with relevant municipalities in Fiji. The concept will promote international exchange activities in various areas and will also enhance and facilitate possible trade connections.

Customer Service/Public relations

FET this month organised meet and greet formalities for the Fiji National Rugby team. Ambassador Kubuabola presented team jerseys to the run on team on the eve of the game. The Fiji team played Japan on 22nd June 2008 winning by 24 – 12 in wet conditions.

January to April 2008 Highlights

January

A recent survey has ranked Tokyo as the most important city in Asia due to its economic and cultural aspects ahead of Beijing and Seoul. Tokyo was also ranked the world’s fourth most important city behind London, New York and Paris. The ranking was derived from a 14 criteria system adopted by researchers.

Building Peace Symposium– Facilitated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tokyo the symposium held in Tokyo this month focused on UN PKO in African nations emerging from conflict situations. Japan has renewed its pledge to support UN initiatives in African nations emerging out of conflict situations. An invitation was also extended to FET for the closing session of the symposium.

Promotion

Korean Air to promote Fiji Korean Air has expressed interest in having direct flights between China and Fiji. This was made known by its Managing Vice President Mr Jung Yung Hak in a meeting with Ambassadors Kubuabola and Ambassador AhKoy in Seoul on 24th January 2008. Further discussions will follow on traffic rights and air service agreements in place. In the meantime Korean Air has agreed to work with the Fiji Visitors Bureau in promoting Fiji in China. At present Chinese tourists can fly on Korean Air to Fiji from 20 citiesin China through Incheon Airport, Seoul.

Fiji Travel Promotion About 100 people from Club Tourism attended the Fiji Travel Promotion held on 16th January in Tokyo. The event was co-sponsored by Air Pacific and Fiji Visitors Bureau Tokyo. Ambassador Kubuabola addressed the gathering which also included a ‘yaqona’ ceremony. Club Tourism has a membership of 3 million retirees scattered all over Japan.

February

New South Korean President President Lee Myung Bak was sworn in as South Korea’s 17th President in Seoul on Monday 25 February. President Lee declared in his inaugural address that economic revival remains as his government’s most urgent task and to have South Korea remain as a competitive force in a globalising economy.

President Lee Myung Bak outlined his vision for Korea in his address based on the theme “Together We Shall Open a Road to Advancement”.

Surplus in Trade Balance- Fiji recorded a surplus in trade balance (export vs imports) in January due to strong performance of wood chips exports. Total Fiji exports to Japan in January recorded a 40.4% increase from the same period in 2007.

Fiji Water in South Korea- Fiji Water is now retailed in large department stores and coffee houses like Starbucks in Seoul, Korea from this month. Korean businessman Mr Shim Sung-nam is the Fiji Water distributor in Korea. He is now working on getting Fiji Beer to be sold in Korea as well.

Investment in Fiji

Ethanol Sojitz Corporation (Japan) was endorsed this month by Cabinet (Fiji) for the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) Ethanol Project following a competitive selection process. Sojitz Corporation in partnership with the FSC will now pursue the production of ethanol from sugar cane products in Fiji. The ethanol project is expected to produce 100,000 litres per day when fully operational with production capacity to be 50% only in the first year. The total investment cost is US$23.9 million, and annual revenue is projected to be US$13.2 million.

Noni products– Pure Bright Company (Japan), one of the largest importers of noni products into Japan will invest in noni cultivation and production in Fiji. A total of 2000 Fiji nationals are expected to be employed in the proposed investment which will also scope honey production from noni flowers.

Promotion

Kitsuregawa Fiji Festival Fiji Embassy Tokyo with Fiji nationals and friends hosted amini Fiji Festival on Saturday 9th February at the Heartpia Kitsuregawa Hotel, Kitsuregawa Town, Tochigi Prefecture. The festival provided an opportunity for the Fiji Embassy staff, families and members of the Nihon Fiji Kai to showcase many aspects of Fijian culture to about 300 people. Mr Tamio Ikoma of Air Pacific and Ms Iki Kawabata of Fiji Visitors Bureau were also present to promote Fiji as a tourist destination. Guests were treated to some delicious Fijian food- roti and curry, ika vakalolo, vakasakera, vakalolo and even lovo food. Speeches in support of the festival were made by the Vice Governor of Tochigi Prefecture Mr Toshimasa Asou, Mayor of Sakura City Mr Kithei Akimoto and Ambassador Kubuabola.

Our participation has left a lasting impression on what Fiji is all about to those that attended the festival. It was also a wonderful opportunity to rally our community together and is a strong indication of the communal and collective approach we are renowned for.

2008 Tokyo Marathon– About 32,400 people ran in the Tokyo Marathon 2008 on 17th February. At the finishing line in Ariake were booths with representatives from different countries displaying and selling their national products. Fiji Embassy staff and Nihon Fiji Kai members were at the Fiji booth to promote Fiji products. A significant number of people visited the Fiji booth to enquire about Fiji particularly the tourism promotional materials displayed.

2008 Super Market Trade Show– Fiji was represented at the 3 days trade show held at the Tokyo Big Sight this month by Punja & Sons Ltd, Lautoka. Products ranging from coconut soap, oil, tea and spices were displayed. Participation of the Fiji based company was sponsored by the Pacific Island Centre, Tokyo.

March

Trade

Fiji Water now retailed in large department stores and coffee houses like Starbucks in Seoul, Korea and through bulk purchasing in Japan, continued to gain momentum through the niche markets in these two countries. The marketing of the product is becoming a tremendous and an effective opportunity to market the Fiji brand that is associated with Fiji’s tourism industry.

Promotion

Safe, Affordable and Enjoyable Ambassador Kubuabola was interviewed by the Mainichi Daily Japanese newspaper this month emphasising on factors that maintain Fiji’s status as a popular tourist destination. The Ambassador emphasised on the 3 main features, “Safe, Affordable and Enjoyable” that make Fiji different from other tourist destinations. The Mainichi newspapers have a daily circulation of 4 million all over Japan and 1 million in Tokyo alone. About 26,000 Japanese tourists visit Fiji every year.

Japan / Pacific Island Forum Joint Committee Meeting

Fiji was represented at the meeting held at the Toshi Centre Hotel, Tokyo on March 5th, 2008 by Mr. Veretariki Lomalagi from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Suva and First Secretary Ulaiasi Ravula. Discussions focused on arrangements under the Okinawa partnership endorsed at the PALM 4 meeting in 2006 and existing cooperation between Japan and Pacific Islands Forum member nations. Japan had initially pledged to provide assistance to the extent of 45 billion yen, major portions of which will be grants to PIF members over a period of 3 years commencing in 2006.

Customer Service/Public relations

Donations from Asia-Pacific Ladies Friendship Society (ALFS) to Fiji schools The Asia-Pacific Ladies Friendship Society (ALFS) at its 4th joint meeting held on 12th March 2008 at the Parliament Memorial Hall, donated a cheque sum of 300,000 yen as consolatory donations for victims of the recent cyclone in Fiji. School stationery supplies were purchased and handed to Mr Paula Kunabuli, Director Special Projects at the Ministry of Education, Fiji by Mrs Jiu Kubuabola on 27th March, 2008. The supplies will be distributed to rural schools damaged during the recent Cyclone Gene which hit Fiji in January this year.

April

2008 Japan Business Summit

FET participated at the Japan Business Summit held in Tokyo this month. The summit discussed in detail submissions by the business sectors of G-8 member nations on the Kyoto Protocol to be tabled at the G-8 Leaders Summit in July 2008. Panel discussions at the Japan Business Summit were led by US, Germany, Canada, Italy and Japan senior chamber of commerce officials. The summit intends to produce a communiqué on the role and contribution of business and industrial sectors in G-8 member nations to reduce global warming in particular gas emission.

Investment

Ethanol- Sojitz Corporation, Japan this month signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) for the production of ethanol in Fiji. Sojitz officials visited FET this month and provided an update on development surrounding their intention to set up an ethanol plant in Fiji. The total investment will be in the vicinity of US$35m.

Customer Service/Public Relations

Asia-Pacific Ladies Friendship Society (ALFS) – The Asia-Pacific Ladies Friendship Society (ALFS) hosted its annual “Festival & Charity Bazaar” at the Ana Inter-Continental Hotel, Tokyo on 16th April 2008. The objective of the annual charity bazaar is to raise funds to assist needy people in member countries. The bazaar provided an excellent opportunity for Fiji nationals and friends to promote Fiji. The guest of honour, H.I.H. Princess Hitachi was introduced to Asia/Pacific Ambassadors and spouses by the Vice Chairperson of ALFS, Mrs Jiu Kubuabola.

National Council of Building a Better Fiji (NCBBF) & Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress Awareness Session FET continues to interact with Fiji nationals now living and working in Japan. An awareness session for Fiji nationals’ representatives & friends in Tokyo was held on 12/04/08 at the Embassy based on the Constitutional Document for the preparation of the State of the Nation and Economy (SNE) Report. The session generated meaningful discussions and suggestions in an attempt to contribute to the way forward for Fiji that will ensure peace and stability for Fiji’s future generations.

 

October 10, 2007

 Fiji at the crossroads amidst local and global changes

Today marks the 37th anniversary of the Republic of the Fiji Islands independence. On this auspicious occasion therefore, it gives me great pleasure to extend warm greetings and best wishes to Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko and also to the members of the Imperial Household.

I also take this opportunity to warmly congratulate and convey the Republic of Fiji’s best wishes to the Honourable Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and members of his Cabinet, the government and to all citizens of Japan. I also extend special greetings and Bula vinaka  to all Fiji nationals in Japan and to all readers of The Japan Times.

Fiji has embraced 2007 with a resolute determination to survive the challenges characteristically faced by developing countries. The detail of the course and direction that Fiji embarks on is of vital importance for the future of the nation and its people.

The scope of bilateral relations between Fiji and Japan through trade, investment, education, sports and cultural exchange continues to grow and it is envisaged to bring much needed boost towards raising the standard of living of our people.

Political relations
Fiji is truly thankful to the government and the people of Japan for the unwavering support extended to Fiji amidst the political changes that Fiji is currently facing. It is during such times that Fiji absolutely needs the cooperation and support of nations that can extend a hand of friendship.

The Japan-Fiji Parliamentary League has been an avenue to engage the two countries in constant dialogue and networking. It continues to look forward to strengthening the ties between the two countries in the future.

Political engagement and relations between Fiji and Japan is ongoing and I am optimistic that it will continue to grow from strength to strength. Fiji looks forward to further consolidate bilateral relations between Fiji and Japan and has every confidence in the new leadership of Japan to bring this about.

Trade and tourism

Undoubtedly Japan has been and continues to be a significant trading partner for Fiji. Top imports from Japan have been vehicles, machines, telecommunication items, electrical parts and office equipment. Main exports include sugar, fish and wood chips. Fiji has certainly benefited from close associations with various arms of the Japanese government such as the Pacific Islands Centre and JETRO as they help to foster trade links between Japan and Fiji and other Pacific Island countries.

Fiji is grateful to the assistance given by many organizations in Japan such as the Japan – Fiji Friendship Society whose members are representatives of companies with business interests in Fiji. Since its inception in 1998, the Society has continued to pursue fulfilling its mission of developing economic and cultural exchange between the two countries.

Fiji’s idyllic and pristine environment, a diverse fauna and flora and the friendliness of its people are some of the attractions that thousands of tourists enjoy and experience as they visit our island nation. Approximately 30,000 Japanese tourists visit Fiji annually. Tourism has been one of the top foreign exchange earners for Fiji as well as providing employment for an estimated 15% of Fiji’s labour force. Tourism is vital for Fiji because of its potential to benefit all levels of society.

The formation of the Tourism Action Group by the Fiji government recently and the promotional visit to Japan of some of its members is evidence that Fiji needs to bolster its efforts in the tourism  sector and views Japan as a vital partner.

Japanese aid to Fiji

Japan is undoubtedly one of Fiji’s major donors especially in the economic and social sector and much development has been the outcome of such assistance. Japan has provided funds for capital works, technical experts and volunteers and facilitated and provided training for many Fiji nationals in Japan.

Organisations such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) continue to provide much needed technical training and human resource development for Fiji nationals. The Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA) through its Agro-Forestry Development Project based at the National Youth Training Centre in Sigatoka, established in 1990 has contributed a great deal to the training of young people within the framework of the Fiji government’s human development program. The Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) program established since 1983 has provided hundreds of Japanese volunteers to Fiji. These volunteers have served in areas such as education, health, engineering, environment and youth activities.

Such partnerships with the Japanese government has been further strengthened by the  commitment made at the Fourth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 4) last year where the leaders adopted the declaration of a partnership for a more ‘robust and prosperous Pacific region’.

A small community of Fiji nationals reside and work in various parts of Japan and have made Japan their home. Some members of the Fiji Team playing in the Rugby World Cup Competition currently underway in France play on a contractual basis in different clubs in Japan.

In conclusion, I wish to thank all our sponsors especially the Japan-Fiji Friendship Society, the Japan-Fiji Parliamentary League, the Japan Times whose generous support we have always received over the years. It is our hope that Japan will continue to assist Fiji make the theme of the Fiji Day 2007 celebration of Moving Forward together to build a better Fiji become a reality.

Vinaka vakalevu and thank you very much. May God bless you all.

Ratu Inoke Kubuabola

Ambassador

2004

Marking the 34th Anniversary of Fiji’s Independence

By H.E. Ratu Tevita Momoedonu
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Today marks the 34th Anniversary of the Republic of the Fiji Islands independence from being a British Colony since 10th October 1874. On this auspicious occasion, I have the honour and privilege to convey my warm and heartfelt greetings to Their Imperial Majesties the Emperor and Empress and also to all the members of the Imperial Household. I also take this grand opportunity to convey my warm greetings to the Prime Minister, members of his cabinet, the government and to all citizens of Japan. My greetings also go out to my fellow countrymen and women who are here in Japan for various pursuits and to every one of you, I wish you well during your stay in this great land of Japan.

The first ten months of this year have proved to be significantly important for this young nation, with the unfolding of various events which have set new course and direction for the future of the country.

Firstly, on 18th April 2004 was the demise of the Father of Modern Fiji, the late Rt. Honorable Ratu Sir Kamisese K.T. Mara, GCMG, KBE, CF, KStJ, MSD. He was the first Prime Minister of Fiji when we gained independence in 1970, holding the helm of leadership for about two decades. Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara was the founding leader of the South Pacific Forum and a founding father of the Lome Convention, the predecessor of the Cotonou Agreement. He was also very instrumental, during his Prime Ministership, with the establishment of Fiji’s Diplomatic Mission in Japan way back in 1981. Then another tragedy struck Fiji on 21st July with the passing of the late First Lady, Adi Lady Litia Cakobau Lalabalavu Mara, wife of the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara. The demise of this prominent and distinguished couple, who ably led Fiji during its difficult transitional period after independence for about twenty years, was unfortunately the end of an era.

A democratically and constitutionally elected government has been in office for nearly three years now, after the general election in 2001. Fiji has once again enjoyed full parliamentary democracy in its governance and I wish to reiterate that the nation is very much back on the track of economic recovery. At this juncture, I wish to thank the government and people of Japan for their unwavering support and cooperation extended to Fiji during and soon after it faced that infamous political and economic crisis in May 2000. Evidently, Fiji is witnessing a continuing rise of Japanese tourists arriving in the country as a holiday destination and I am certain that this positive trend will continue in the future. Unlike other sectors of the economy, tourism industry in Fiji has gone through a very quick recovery. It has surpassed sugar industry as the largest foreign exchange earner for the nation. Tourism earnings forecast for 2003 stood at $673.6 million and it is anticipated that the earnings for 2007 can reach a record level of $700 plus million, given the positive growth that the industry is going through now. This achievement is the net result of the very strong support and cooperation of all the stakeholders in the industry, including hoteliers, travel agencies around the world, the national airline Air Pacific and other airlines operating through Fiji and lastly but not the least, the untiring effort of the Fiji Visitors Bureau in Fiji and overseas.

Some major hotel projects are being undertaken in Fiji now, while others are in the pipeline for commencement in the near future, in order to accommodate and cope with the rising demand of quality accommodation facilities badly needed.

The government is determined and adamant than ever before to resolve land problems which have been an impediment to the growth of the sugar industry in Fiji, when the terms of sugar cane land leases began expiring since 1997. Major reforms for the industry have been recommended by a team of experts from India which will be implemented by government soon in order to sustain the industry as well as the thousands of people whose livelihoods depend on sugar.

The decline of the sugar industry has subsequently affected other sectors including agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Other sectors of the economy such as garments, retail, construction and food manufacturing, have shown positive growth over the past few years since 2000. The mining and quarrying sector has contributed an average of 2.8 per cent of GDP over the past five years.

Textiles are Fiji’s third highest foreign exchange earner after sugar. With the Australian and New Zealand economies level of preference in these markets being eroded, marketing efforts are likely to become more focused with successful penetration of the United States market and increasing attention being paid to the European market.

Fiji’s fisheries sector is currently the fourth largest export industry. The marine resource sector currently contributes 20 percent to total agricultural production and while accounts for 1.5 percent of GDP, has considerable potential for expansion. The sector boasts a diverse range of resources from fin-fish products such as yellow fin, big eye, albacore and skip-jack tuna export species to prawn, seaweed, giant clam and tilapia farming which are cultured at a semi-commercial and subsistence level.

Fiji’s other main fishery export commodity is trochus shell and trochus shell buttons. Foreign investors are coming into this industry and the government is encouraging local investors to be involved in this enterprising business.

Based on the current level of production, seaweed alone could have contributed $200 million by the year 2002. The whole fisheries sub-sector, through continued encouragement and support should earn well over $1 billion by the end of this year.

Fiji’s forestry sector contributes on average of about 1 percent to GDP and ranks as fifth most important export commodity after sugar, garments, gold and fish. Earnings from forestry products are greatly influenced by the price of exports, production and weather patterns. The outlook for the forestry sector is very positive with strong growth expected in harvest in 2003 and 2004 due to the commencement in harvest of mahogany plantations.

Government believes in the necessity of providing special assistance programs that would allow indigenous Fijians and Rotuman participation within the economy. Affirmative Action for the disadvantaged is legislated through the Social Justice Act of 2001 and covers a total of 29 programmes. The Government of the day, has also developed a medium-term strategy titled the “Strategic Development Plan, 2003 – 2005” which is to enable Government to achieve its vision of a “Peaceful and Prosperous Fiji”. Six medium term strategy priorities have been identified and if these are adhered to, Government believes it will achieve sustained economic growth of 5% per year for the country and more importantly see the priorities fight poverty and raise the standard of living of all people in the country.

With this affirmative action in mind, the Japan-Fiji Global Business Alignment (JFGBA) was formulated by a group of Fijian indigenous entrepreneurs (FIBC) with the support and cooperation of a group of Japanese business people in March 2004. This joint business alignment between the two countries was officially launched in Suva, Fiji on Wednesday, 17th March by the Prime Minister, Hon. Mr. Laisenia Qarase. One of the objectives of this business association is to enhance opportunities in Japan and Fiji in order to encourage growth in various sectors of the economy and also to enable the transfer of business knowledge and expertise amongst entrepreneurs of both countries.

Trade has been a major contribution to economic growth in Fiji. Fiji accepts that the world is moving towards the globalization of trade and thus it is essential that the country be an active participant in the world market. Fiji has, over the years, benefited from bilateral and multilateral trade agreements with Japan and the Pacific Island Countries (PIC). Japan has therefore become a very important and crucial partner for Fiji, in terms of trade, economy and cultural exchanges. I sincerely hope and trust that these relationships between the two countries will be maintained, sustained and fully enhanced for the explicit benefit of the peoples of these two nations. My very special thanks and a big “VINAKA VAKALEVU” goes to the members of the Japan-Fiji Friendship Society (JFFS) for its past and present contribution for Fiji.

I also wish to thank all the Japanese nationals who have visited Fiji and have treasured the fond memories of their visit to the country. Finally, my sincere gratitude go to the “friends of Fiji” who have sponsored this supplement in The Mainichi Daily.

Thank you, domo arigato gozaimashita, vinaka vakalevu.

Country Profile

  • Size 332 islands – approximately 1/3 inhabited
  • Total Area 18,333 sq. km (Viti Levu – 10,429 sq. km; Vanua Levu – 5,556 sq. km)
  • Land
    • 82.9% Native Lands;
    • 8.06% Freehold Land;
    • 8.41% State Land;
    • 0.24% Rotuman Community Owned
  • Climate Southsea Maritime Climate (tropical)
  • Seasons
    • May to October (cooler months)
    • November to April (dry months)
  • Capital Suva City, in Viti Levu
  • International Airports Nadi and Nausori
  • Population 772,655 (Census August 25th, 1996)
    • Fijians – 394,999 (51.1%)
    • Indians – 336,579 (43.6%)
    • Others – 41,077 ( 5.3%)
  • Labour Force 301,500 (as at December 1996)
  • Languages English, Fijian, Hindi and Rotuman
  • Currency Fiji dollar
  • Time 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time

Congratulating the people of the Republic of the Fiji Islands as they celebrate their National Day


2003

Fiji’s Embassy in Tokyo reached a milestone in our 2003 Corporate targets on Tuesday 13th May 2003 on the launching of our homepage and website at a Dinner hosted by HE Ratu Tevita Momoedonu in honour of the Hon. Prime Minister Mr Laisenia Qarase and Mrs Leba Qarase.

The website could be viewed at http://www.fijiembassy.jp. The Tokyo Mission becomes the fifth Fiji Mission abroad to open its website and homepage, following Wellington, Brussels, Beijing and Washington, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade mobilizes its scarce resources to satisfy the info-tech demands of the 21st Century clientele, whilst capitalizing on the gains availed by on-line accessibility.

The launching was by none other than Fiji’s very first Ambassador to Japan, HE Jioji Kotobalavu, currently the Permanent Secretary in Fiji’s Prime Minister’s Office in Suva and accompanying the Hon. Prime Minister in Japan to attend the Pacific Island Leaders Summit [PALM 2003] to be held in the Japanese south eastern Okinawa Island on 16th-17th May 2003. More details on the summit are available athttp://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/event/2003/5/0509.html.